Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

John D. MacDonald takes the hard-boiled detective and fashions him into the modern version of a knight-errant. MacDonald’s Travis McGee usually gets involved in helping young women who have been bilked of their money by charming male swindlers. In McGee’s code of honor, the worst crime is taking advantage of the innocent and the naïve. He couples his fiercely moral views with strong convictions about the nature of modern society, which he deplores for its rapacious violation of the environment and its greedy exploitation of human beings. Knowing he cannot change the structure of society fundamentally, McGee opts for living on its fringes and for doing battle with the hucksters and cheats who thrive on fooling women—and sometimes gullible men—by deceit and trickery. Although he is a fierce individualist, McGee is remarkable for having such a well-developed social consciousness. He is a man who realizes that his way of life is in itself a statement, a challenge to the status quo.